Benfica's impressive XI if they hadn't sold their best players

Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final : First Leg

Tottenham Hotspur, meet Gedson Fernandes - Benfica’s latest export.

The midfielder has opted for north London after being courted by a number of top clubs across Europe.

The level of interest in the 21-year-old is unsurprising given the Primeira Liga outfit’s reputation for developing talented youngsters.

Jose Mourinho alone has spent £138 million on buying Benfica players throughout his managerial career.

Fernandes is far from a regular in the first team but with Moussa Sissoko ruled out through injury to worsen Spurs' midfield injury crisis, the wonder kid has done enough to convince Daniel Levy to sanction an 18-month loan with an option to buy for £42.7m. 

Sadly, Benfica just don't have the financial muscle to keep their most prodigious talents.

Had the following XI remained at the club, and had Benfica not been cursed by their former manager Béla Guttmann 58 years ago, there's got to be a chance they'd have been up there fighting for the Champions League...

Jan Oblak

The Atletico Madrid stopper is in the very top tier of European goalkeepers. Benfica sold him for just €16 million but he is now worth over 5x that. 

Club Atletico de Madrid v CA Osasuna  - La Liga

Nelson Semedo

It wasn't easy for the defender to establish himself at Barcelona, for whom right-back was something of a problem position for a long time. Semedo has now made over 100 appearances at Camp Nou though and has established himself as a Portuguese international. 

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF  - La Liga

David Luiz

Bear with us here. Yes, the Brazilian is error-prone. No Arsenal centre-back is going to be synonymous with a composed defence. The fact remains that he has gone on to achieve huge things since leaving Benfica, winning 12 major honours. 

Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Victor Lindelof

Despite a slow start to life at Old Trafford, it always looked like there was a competent defender in there somewhere, not least because of his performances for Sweden.

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Joao Cancelo

Cancelo has had a difficult start to life at Manchester City but he is extremely versatile and can play in both full-back positions. 

Aston Villa v Manchester City - Premier League

Axel Witsel

Unfortunately, Witsel gained a reputation as something of a mercenary when he headed for the Chinese Super League despite being monitored by several Premier League clubs. Now, he’s back in Europe with Borussia Dortmund and going some way towards undoing that damage. 

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Gedson Fernandes

Tottenham’s newest recruit is hoping to plug the void in Spurs' central midfield, where he may get more opportunities than he did at Benfica. Despite being so in-demand, he's made just nine appearances in all competitions so far this season. 

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Renato Sanches

Sanches became the youngest player to win the European Championships back in 2016. Back then, he was a Golden Boy linked with Manchester United, but he flopped at Bayern Munich and in a subsequent loan move to Swansea. Finally, he's back on track with Lille. There's definitely a player in there somewhere.

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Bernardo Silva

For a while, Silva was an unsung hero in Manchester City’s incredible attacking machine. That’s begun to change as more and more people cotton on to what a powerful threat he is going forward. Silva was named City's Player of the Year in 2019. 

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Angel Di Maria

The Argentine has been a hit everywhere except Manchester United and is currently on a tally of 45 goals in 136 games at PSG.

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Joao Felix

Felix has scored just the two league goals since joining Atletico for €126 million - Benfica's biggest ever sale. However, there was always going to be an immense amount of pressure on the world's second most expensive teenager after Kylian Mbappe and he has showed signs of living up to that price tag on occasion. 

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - Supercopa de Espana Final

Manager: Jose Mourinho

It’s often forgotten that the current Spurs boss started his managerial career at Benfica, replacing Jupp Heynckes all the way back in 2000.

Jose Mourinho

Fabio Coentrao, Andre Gomes, Raul Jimenez all deserve honourable mentions.

Imagine what Benfica could have achieved if they'd been able to keep hold of their best players. 

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